January 25, 2012

Major solar storm hits Earth

 

A wave of charged particles from an intense solar storm is pummeling the Earth right now, which may trigger stunning aurora displays and cause minor disruptions to satellites over the next two days, NASA scientists say. (Jan. 24)

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This handout image provided by NASA, taken Sunday night, Jan. 22, 2012, shows a solar flare erupting on the Sun's northeastern hemisphere. Space weather officials say the strongest solar storm in more than six years is already bombarding Earth with radiation with more to come. The Space Weather Prediction Center in Colorado observed a flare Sunday night at 11 p.m. EST. Physicist Doug Biesecker said the biggest concern from the speedy eruption is the radiation, which arrived on Earth an hour later. It will likely continue through Wednesday. It's mostly an issue for astronauts' health and satellite disruptions. It can cause communication problems for airplanes that go over the poles. (AP Photo/NASA)

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The Solar Dynamics Observatory captures an M8.7 class flare in a handout photo released by NASA January 23, 2012. The flare is shown here in teal as that is the color typically used to show light in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, a wavelength in which it is easy to view solar flares. The flare began at 10:38 PM ET on January 22, 2012, peaked at 10:59 PM and ended at 11:34 PM. REUTERS/NASA/SDO/AIA/Handout

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IN SPACE - JANUARY 23: In this handout from the NOAA/National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center, shows a solar flare erupting from the sun late January 23, 2012. The flare is reportedly the largest since 2005 and is expected to affect GPS systems and other communications when it reaches the Earth's magnetic field in the morning of January 24. (Photo by NOAA/National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center via Getty Images)

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This handout image provided by NASA shows the coronal mass ejection, viewed by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on June 7, 2011. A medium-sized solar flare has erupted from the sun in an impressive display captured by NASA cameras. Scientists say that the event won't have a significant impact on Earth. NASA says the flare peaked Tuesday and created a large cloud that appeared to cover almost half the surface of the sun. Images were recorded by the orbiting satellite called the Solar Dynamics Observatory. (AP Photo/NASA/SDO)

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This image provided by NASA shows a solar flare just as sunspot 1105 was turning away from Earth on Sept. 8, 2010 the active region erupted, producing a solar flare and a fantastic prominence. The eruption also hurled a bright coronal mass ejection into space. The eruption was not directed toward any planets.

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IN SPACE - JANUARY 23: In this handout from the NOAA/National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center, shows the coronal mass ejection (CME) erupting from the sun late January 23, 2012. The flare is reportedly the largest since 2005 and is expected to affect GPS systems and other communications when it reaches the Earth's magnetic field in the morning of January 24. (Photo by NOAA/National Weather Service's Space Weather Prediction Center via Getty Images)

Read more:
http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?collection_id=15504&media_id=129872541
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